Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir
Length: c. 11 minutes
Orchestration: 2 flutes, alto flute, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, flugelhorn, 2 trombones, tuba, percussion (bass drum, cimbalom, marimba, vibraphone), harp, piano, and strings
First LA Phil performance
María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir began studying violin at the Reykjavík College of Music and continued with composition at the Iceland Academy of the Arts. While in college she was a founding member of a string quartet which later became the group amiina. She works frequently with pop artists such as Sigur Rós, Spiritualized, and Lee Hazlewood, and has played on the soundtracks for films. Her compositions include Clockworking (for string trio and electronics) for Nordic Affect, and the scores for director Mike Ott’s films Pearblossom Hwy (2012) and Lake Los Angeles (2014).
The Latin title Aequora suggests the even surface of the sea, and Sigfusdóttir’s soundscape has its sustained surface in the strings and winds. This has its occasional ruffles and swells, and after the strings drop out, a strongly felt but ebbing current to close.
But this surface is very much roiled by the striking timbres and colors of the percussion, combined with harp and piano. That music is heard first, and its restless scrapings, tremolos, and thuds are never far away. The essential frame of this combinatorial engine – the roll on the low A of the marimba, the harp on repeated Es above – returns at the end.